Friday, March 28, 2008


Photo: Dayton Daily News


Come and listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then one day, he was shootin’ at some food, when Brandon Walsh stepped in and said, “Hold your fire, dude!”

What? That’s not the way the song goes, you say? Well, that’s how it goes in my head – a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there – where cornpone meets caviar, jalopies park beside Jags, and Ellie Mae dates Dylan McKay.

Imagine if the Clampetts had loaded up their truck and moved to Beverly (Hills, that is), circa 1993, and found themselves in the midst of a teen soap opera that addressed topical issues like alcoholism, domestic violence, gay rights, drug abuse and AIDS. Not exactly the stuff of comedy, but Jed and his kinfolk would change that in no time. “My boy’s takin’ Brenda Walsh to that there fancy shindig over to the high school! Wee doggies!”

Welcome to “Beverly Hillbillies 90210.” Cue banjo music.

Think about it: Granny and Andrea lounging beside the “cee-ment pond” … Ellie Mae in a catfight with Brenda … Mrs. Walsh putting the moves on Jethro … Ellie Mae in a catfight with Kelly … Miss Hathaway putting the moves on David Silver … Ellie Mae in a catfight with Donna.

Considering the lack of originality on TV these days, I think it’s a pretty good idea. If one show can spin off from another, why can’t two shows spin INTO each other? You’d get twice the entertainment in half the viewing time!

If you like your comedy mixed with something harder than teen drama, stay tuned for Freddie Prinze Jr.’s prime-time debut as a fast-talking barrio boy who joins the agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement to combat evil and crabby old auto garage owners. “Chico and the Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is must-see TV!

Isaiah Washington battled accusations of homophobia toward former “Grey’s Anatomy” co-star T.R. Knight, but the actors put their differences aside – or rather, use them to their advantage – in the first secret agent adventure series to feature a gay-hetero buddy pairing. Don’t miss “Queer I-Spy for the Straight Guy” … every episode features a car chase and a makeover!

During a trip to New York with Dorothy and Blanche to attend Sophia’s funeral, Rose Nylund is so taken with the Big Apple that she decides to stay. With her new home comes a new job as the personal assistant to the editor of an ultra-hip fashion magazine. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love with “Ugly Betty White.”

While we’re at it, why not merge TV shows with movies? Coming soon to a pay-per-view-channel near you: “Malcolm X in the Middle,” “The Rocky Balboa and Bullwinkle Show,” “Married … with Children of the Corn” …

I’ve got a million of ‘em, folks. But it’s time for me to pause for a word from my sponsor, so … y’all come back now, ya hear?

Friday, March 14, 2008



Oh, the weather last week was frightful and being snowed in was none too delightful. Especially if you happened to be stranded away from home and the comforts therein – your own bed … your own broken-in sofa with your own personal butt groove … your own remote control that you don’t have to steal from your mom while she’s taking a nap.

I spent much of my confinement surfing the tube for a good winter movie, but the closest thing I could find was “Home Alone.” While that light-hearted tale of child neglect indeed takes place during the snowy season, it’s really more of a Christmas flick than a movie in which the weather has a starring role.

Next time a freak snowstorm hits, I’ll be better prepared with a few films to nicely complement my wintry mood:

* “Misery” – You'll think twice about driving in the snow after watching this 1990 thriller. Suddenly, that quick run to Speedway for nachos and a tub o’ soda won’t seem so important.

* “Snow Day” – One free day isn’t enough for the conniving schoolkids in this comedy that’s bound to give young viewers a few ideas, most of them illegal. Any flick featuring Iggy Pop just might be worth the cost of springing Junior from kiddie jail.

* “Cool Runnings” – Four Jamaican bobsledders plus one dream plus 25 below zero equal 98 minutes you don’t have to spend shoveling snow.

* “Groundhog Day” – Think you’ve got it bad? Imagine you’re Bill Murray living through the longest winter ever as Feb. 2 repeats over and over and over. Or worse, imagine being Punxsutawney Phil.

* “Alive” – This is the true story of a Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the Andes after a plane crash and driven to, um, “desperate measures” to survive. This is a movie you can sink your teeth into, an affecting tale that’s bound to eat away at you long after it’s over. Any further plot spoilers would be in, ahem, bad taste.

* “MXP: Most Xtreme Primate” – Best. Snowboarding Monkey. Movie. Ever. Period.

* “March of the Penguins” – Narrated by Morgan Freeman (who also does voiceovers in my head), this documentary follows the annual mating trek of Emperor penguins across the unforgiving Antarctic, where they endure sub-zero temperatures and gale-force blizzards, risking life and wing all in the name of love. Apparently, they’ve never heard of

* “Happy Feet” – This animated Oscar-winner takes a light-but-still-educational look at penguin mating rituals and, without becoming heavy-handed, teaches important lessons in accepting each others’ differences. It also teaches us that, even in cartoon form, Robin Williams will shamelessly chew every bit of scenery that crosses his path.

* The Shining” – A snowbound writer (Jack Nicholson) goes all Lizzie Borden on his wife and son in this Kubrick classic.

On second thought, I’d better scratch that last one off my list. It’s probably not the best thing to watch when you’re snowed in at your mom’s for three days.